>phd_year(4) = 9

Old friends, hello, hey, I missed you. Old life, hey now, let me in.

I was gone a little longer than I intended, but I’m back now.

I don’t know why exactly, but October was hard on me. It was probably a long time coming. Since my stupid all-night drive home from Washington, it’s felt like my energy has been sapped and I’m running at half capacity. I think it was when Andrea mentioned that it looked like I had lost weight… that’s probably when I started realizing I needed a little break.

I took a long weekend, and forced myself to ignore all forms of work. I managed to start and finish a book (it was ok), watch a few movies, and get outside despite feeling under the weather most of the time.

I had time to think.

Mostly I thought about a tweet I saw a few days ago. It said something like, “I’m passionate about my research, but also about 10 other things including my health.” I can’t say I’ve ever thought of my health in this way. I’ve always treated my health as a thing that got in the way. I need to fix this. I’m going to fix this.

I originally wrote this up as a series of tweets, but here is my plan.

  1. Take the weekend off from all work, side projects and all. (CHECK)
  2. I haven’t been eating at home, and to stay on budget I haven’t been eating out all that much… Hence the weight loss that I really can’t afford to lose. I’m going grocery shopping.
  3. A good metric of my stress level is facial hair growth. I think more than a day or two growth looks bad on me. Try to reverse-psychology my brain by keeping it under control
  4. I haven’t taken time to get some good, “put on gym shorts and sweat” exercise in I-dunno-how-long. I need to do something little, every single day.
  5. Most important, I am going to step back from a few commitments. I actually just did this last week. It was liberating. Everyone involved thanked me for my contributions, was grateful that I was a part of the project, and totally supported my decision to step back. I’m still looking for another commitment to cull in order to make room for a new commitment I’d like to take up, but I won’t rush it.
  6. Taking time to read reminded me that I’m behind schedule on my reading goals. Watching a movie reminded me that I need activities I enjoy that don’t require significant brain power. Might look into “video games”.

That’s all I have for now. I feel good about this.

(PS. the image for this post is a scan of a 35 mm photo Andrea took with some expired B+W film on our Yashica Minister-D camera. I think it came out pretty cool!)

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